Nash and Vesey, A Tale of Two Forwards
Eight games into this young season for the New York Rangers and there have been a lot of positives for the team so far. These include their blistering speed, their play away from the puck and their puck management which have all looked better than last season. Even the powerplay has had some life in it which as fans know is much different than recent years.
Young Gun, Old Gun
One of the best storylines of this young season though is the play of two of the Rangers forwards, Jimmy Vesey and Rick Nash. One just beginning his career and the other hoping to revive it. One hopes to bloom in the bright lights of the Garden while the other is hoping to rekindle the magic he had from his 42 goal season.
Vesey was highly touted coming out of Harvard for a reason. The kid has a great hockey sense and vision and has that nose for the net that you just can’t teach. In his eight games with the team so far he hasn’t looked out of place at all and currently has four goals and one assists for five points in eight games. After his first goal, which game against the Sharks, he has looked better and better. As they say, the floodgates have been opened.
Now what about him is making him so effective already in his career? People knew he would be good but his development seems to be on an accelerated pace. Well there are a few factors here one of them being playing mostly with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello. Both of those guys know how to dish the puck and know how to find their teammates in open ice. Yes, Vesey is the one that must know what to do with the puck when he gets it on his stick but it is a huge help when you have two solid playmakers helping you out.
Another factor is Vesey’s great start has been his willingness to go to the front of the net and make things happen. Three of his four goals have been plays where he has simply gone to the net and hit the puck right in. During the contest against the Sharks he received a pass from Derek Stepan who saw an open Vesey in front of the net and BAM! Goal number one!
Vesey Goal #1
For his second goal of the season Vesey was camped right at the side of the net and received a sweet pass from none other than Rick Nash to score on Braden Holtby. Two goals. Two plays right in front of the net. Now Vesey’s third goal was a thing of beauty and I’ll just leave it right here for you because it showcases the strength of the kid and the pair of sweet hands he has on him.
Vesey Goal #3
Vesey’s fourth goal was scored off another beautiful feed from Rick Nash which led to a tap in in front of the net. Do those two seem to have some chemistry going? It sure looks like it and with the secondary assist on that goal going to Derek Stepan, three of Vesey’s four goals had Derek Stepan involved in some way. Safe to say those two like playing together.
We now move from the rookie to the veteran. Rick Nash receives quite a bit of criticism from Rangers fans with some of it warranted but a lot of it unwarranted. The guy plays a great two way now and you can’t dispute that. Should we expect more goals out of the Rangers eight million dollar man? Absolutely and 15 goals last season just was not enough although he was injured for part of it.
This season is seems though that Nash is doing more of what made him successful in his first few seasons in New York and he has three goals to show for it so far. Now how has he scored those three goals? That’s something important to look at because it can show if Nash is feeling better than he has. Let’s not forget that Nash has had multiple concussions and those can really deter an athlete from playing as hard as they used to you.
Of Nash’s three goals, one of them being an empty net, two have been a great sign. Both have been scored in front of the net and off some rebounds. Nash in his earlier years was known to use his large frame to get to the front of the net and this year that seems to be what hes now doing again. Against the Sharks and against the Bruins, Nash went to the net got a rebound and scored, all good signs.
He has been playing recently with Derek Stepan again and I think that’s someone who he should stick with because the both of them have shown great chemistry in the past. For the Rangers to achieve their goal of winning the Cup, which many doubt they can do this year, Nash must be willing to go to the dirty areas and front of the net and score. He can’t be a secondary scorer ot afterthought. He needs to produce if the Rangers have a hope of winning that elusive fifth cup in franchise history
Both Jimmy Vesey and Rick Nash are off to solid starts this season and both look like they are primed to have good seasons on Broadway.